Can I change my
child’s name following separation or divorce?
To change your child’s name you'll need the written consent of
all individuals who have Parental Responsibility (PR) for a child. A mother will
always have PR for a child. A father will automatically have PR if he is
married to the mother.
If the father is not married to the mother then he can
acquire PR if he is named on the child’s birth certificate after 1 December
2003, or by entering into a PR written agreement with the mother, or a court
What can I do if
the child’s father refuses to change our child’s name?
Under section 8 of the Children Act 1989, you can apply to the
family court for a Specific Issue Order. In your application, you will need to explain
why you are making the application, for example, if you would like the child to
be known by the same surname of a new spouse. If the child’s father opposes the
application then you will need to convince the judge that your motivation for
the name change application is not to reduce the role of the child’s father but
that it is in the child’s best interests. Alternatively, a father can oppose an application on the basis that he believes that the mother is trying to marginalise his role in the child's life.
Often a mother will retain her married name following divorce so that she has the same surname of her child(ren).
If you have any questions, you can telephone Kate Lovegrove direct for a free initial telephone call on 01892 506 205 or 01732 224 025. Kate is an Associate Solicitor & Mediator in the family team and is based in our Tunbridge Wells and Kings Hill offices.